Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Genre Confusion...

I thought I'd ramble on about an issue that has been bugging me for a while now: the genre designation assigned to romance novels. As the title of this post indicates I'm rather confused about this issue. (Yes, I confuse easily.)

I talked about After Midnight yesterday, mentioning what a special read it was for me. When I reviewed the book I checked out the publisher's website and was shocked to find the genre label for this book was Interracial. That's it, that's all! Huh? What happened to contemporary romance? The only thing I could attribute the odd genre designation to was that the heroine's father was Native American. Her mother was American. Um...Why would this fact make the book Interracial? Are not Native Americans, American? lol Call me dumb but I just don't understand it.

I guess part of my confusion stems from the fact that I live in a multicultural city and mixed race relationships are extremely common and part of our cultural mosaic. There is no differentiation, really. In my mind, you love who you love exclusive of heritage or gender.

Blood on the Pen was one of my favorite reads of 2010, it is a gripping crime thriller that doesn't spare the grisly in its graphic depiction chronicling the mechanizations of a sociopathic serial killer. This book is meticulously crafted, excellent storytelling. The genre designation?

Crime Fiction/Mystery/Light Interracial Romance

Now, the crime fiction and mystery I get, but once more, we have the Interracial label. I could be wrong but I believe the heroine (who rocks BTW) of the novel is a Hispanic-American. Again, why does this require the book to be designated Interracial? Would lovers of an excellent murder mystery be bothered by the fact that the hero of the story shows affection to a Hispanic-American woman?

I noticed a number of review requests that were coming down the pipe at a blog where I share my thoughts about books fell under the space opera genre and it prompted me to ask what it was? Color me stupid, I mean I've been reading romance since the age of 12 and am damn old now but I'd never heard of this particular genre until recently. Anyway I was given the explanation found on Definition from Wikipedia:

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities. The term has no relation to music and it is analogous to "soap opera" (see below). Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale.

I was astounded to discover it's been around for a very long time. Duh! Wikipedia gives the example of Planet Stories which was an American Pulp Fiction magazine. I think this cover looks like kind of campy sci fi. lol

I was told it could be equated with Linnea Sinclair's Sci Fi Romance novels, but I always thought of her work as exactly that, not a space opera, although her novels are certainly grand in scale. I'm in no way meaning to denigrate Space Opera as a genre, but it did and does produce significant confusion on my part. I mean Sinclair's novels are fast paced adventures. I always found soap operas to be ongoing painfully slow and nonsensical. lol *scratching head*

Another genre label that I find confusing is Police Procedural. What happened to Crime Thriller or Mystery? What is wrong with Romantic Suspense?

Do we need to subcategorize to define romance novels like surgical subspecialties? On the other hand, I know it's vitally important to give readers accurate direction so that they can chose books that suite there tastes. I do think that romance genres move in and out of vogue depending on what types of reads are selling well. However, do we need to define and "sub-genreize" to minutiae?

Any genres that you find confusing? Have you ever been steered to a book by the genre label it has been assigned and been surprised or even disappointed by it's content?

Tori and I are looking forward to one more fun day with our heroes here on the island tomorrow and are going to be chatting about Halloween reads! Specifically, a series that I think is quite "Halloweenish".. lol

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and that your week is going well so far. :)

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